Q: If one is currently looking to lose 15-20 pounds but they have school all day, does snacking during the day on healthy snacks hinder your goal of weight loss?
A: This depends on many factors. I suggest you have a look at a “Ramblings On Snacks.” Let’s discuss a few factors that you should consider when trying to fit snacks into your daily eating:
1. Are you eating snacks because you are hungry, or are you eating them to increase your meal frequency? Some people erroneously believe that snacking is necessary to keep your metabolism high, prevent lean tissue loss, and control blood sugar. None of this is true. Fasting has been shown to increase metabolism, and retain lean tissue while in a negative energy balance. A lower meal frequency has even been shown to have a lower area under the curve (AUC) for blood glucose levels.
2. Are you splitting your calories up evenly throughout the day or are you eating 3 larger meals along with 2-3 “snacks” in between these meals?
3. How many calories are you taking in on a daily basis?
4. Are you hungrier with a lower meal frequency than a higher meal frequency when consuming the same amount of calories in both cases?
Basically what I’m saying is it’s ok to eat snacks, but you will have to decrease the size of your other meals so that you aren’t taking in more calories. A calorie is a calorie. If you eat more calories than you are expending you will gain weight. If you eat less calories than you expend you will lose weight.
I’d suggest you incorporate your snacks for a couple weeks. Weigh yourself and look at yourself in the mirror. Has your appearance changed? Has the scale gone down? If it hasn’t, than you will have to either take a feeding time away (by reducing meal frequency), reduce the size of your meal(s) or snack(s), or replace your snack foods with foods that are higher in calorie density.
The last option is most likely the easiest to implement. For this you would replace say nuts with vegetables and some dip. I’ve said this many times; nuts are not a good option to eat while trying to lose weight. They don’t provide much satiety, unless you eat a lot, I’m talking 500 calories worth. Try this: eat 500 calories from nuts in a sitting. Rate your feeling of fullness out of 10. The next day, eat 500 calories from vegetables in a sitting. Then rate your feeling of fullness out of 10. I pretty much guarantee the 500 calories from veggies will fill you up like crazy. Not too mention all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you will get from the veggies.
Keep the questions coming folks!